Climate Change Continues to Mess Stuff Up

In 2003, Ben Gibbard's electronic indie pop project The Postal Service once sang about how people would misinterpret global warming as a reward...

In 2003, Ben Gibbard's electronic indie pop project The Postal Service once sang about how people would misinterpret global warming as a reward for good behavior -- "Now we can swim any day in November." Half a decade later, any smidgen of that optimistic perspective deserts us as abnormally high temperatures mess all kinds of things up, including certain species' ability to reproduce.

The latest projected casualty: the tuatara, an ancient species of three-eyed lizard-like reptile in New Zealand. The tuataras still around today descended from the sphenodontian family, which first appeared 225 million years ago and included other awesome reptiles like the Diphydontosaurus and the Toxolophosaurus. Projected temperature increases suggest that by 2085, it will be too warm for females--which can only hatch in cooler temperatures--to be born.

This is sad, because tuataras are among our all-time favorite reptiles right now. They have a mysterious third eye on top of their heads, they can hold their breath for an hour, and they're both cold-blooded and nocturnal, a rare but bad-ass combination. They do have a life span of about a century, so we won't really be feeling the tragic loss of the tuatara for a while. But, we're stubbornly dwelling on how unfair it all is.

More immediately, temperature can affect reproduction for all kinds of animals, like pipefish and moths, and in Chesapeake Bay, it has already resulted in a sexually confused crustaceans situation. If you're not up for nine generations worth of tuatara panic, there are, already in swing, a number of temperature-induced reproductive oddities to freak out about.
via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

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Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

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The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

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